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Q & A: Episode 6

Q & A 6

In this video, Kirby Allison replies to several of the questions and comments asked by our YouTube Audience. We love hearing back from our customers and audience and shortly after this video airs, we will attempt to reach out to all commenters featured in this video with a complimentary pair of our Sovereign Grade dress shoe laces. If your question or comment was featured in this video and you have not heard from us, please message us directly through YouTube.


Hi, I'm Kirby Allison and we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. Thank you for all of your comments and questions that you guys have posted on our YouTube channel. After reading them all and answering as many as possible, I've selected five for this week's Q&A Video. Each of these individuals I've selected will receive a complimentary pair of our Sovereign Grade shoe laces as a token of our appreciation for their participation in our channel. Remember, if you have any questions or comments while you're watching one of our videos, please ask them in the comments section. I enjoy reading those comments and questions and try to get back to as many of them as possible.

Our first question this week is from an Alessandro Cocco and it reads "Hello Mr. Allison. A remarkable video as always. May I ask how you would polish a pair of braided leather shoes?" So great question, I actually have a pair of braided leather shoes that I bought in college. This is one of the first pairs of dress shoes that I really fell in love with. It is a Martegani, I believe which is an Italian brand, and as you can see it has a beautiful kind of woven vamp and kind of three quarters so Alessandro, you would polish a braided leather shoe really the same way that you would polish any leather shoe. I would suggest using really exclusively cream polishes on the braided leather section of the shoe. Now what is important is you're going to want to spend extra time brushing the leather with a horsehair brush and really honestly preferably a pig bristle brush. Now the reason that pig bristle brushes are better for braided leather shoes is that the stiffer bristle is really going to get into the crevices of the braided leather to pull any of that extra polish off as you're applying polish you're going to want to use a chamois and just do a good job making sure that you don't have too much polish on the chamois at any one time just to prevent gunking. But you're going to want to polish and condition this leather the same way that you would any leather shoes. A good example of this would be in our basic shoeshine video, and again the only thing that you would substitute is just being very careful not to apply too much cream polish to the woven leather. In the beginning and then using one of our Hanger Project pig bristle shoe shine brushes to really get into the braided leather. Thanks Alessandro for your question, we look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces.

Our second question in this month's Q is from a Wongheichi. His question reads "Kirby, Have you tried Japanese bespoke shoes? I live in Hong Kong and want to save up and try one. Japanese bespoke shoes are cheaper and I believe they can better cater to my flat feet as many Asians have flat feet". So great question. You know the issue of the Japanese shoe makers is really something really quite miraculous right now. I mean it's incredible the number of really talented Japanese bespoke shoe makers. I believe in Tokyo alone there's over 50 bespoke shoe makers, and in Japan easily 70 to 80. So Japan just has this prolific kind of bespoke shoe culture. And if you think about how important the shoes are you know you're taking your shoes off to enter into someone's house, you can really understand why the Japanese put so much emphasis and focus on that. I personally haven't tried any of the Japanese shoe makers just because for one I just haven't been to Japan yet. There's really not many Japanese shoe makers that travel to the United States, and although I've seen a few and met a few in London, you know I'm not able to see them regularly and consistently enough to really make the bespoke process make sense. But I'd love to try one out. I mean the Japanese are doing some absolutely incredible work. Yohei Fukuda, who actually studied at George Cleverley for two years, has an incredible Instagram account and is widely known for doing absolutely incredible work. So check that out, and you know I would highly encourage Japanese bespoke shoemakers, especially living in Hong Kong. It just makes perfect sense because of the proximity. Another great resource for information on the Japanese spoke shoemakers is the Shoegazing blog that Jesper puts together. He has traveled to Japan quite extensively and he has some incredible coverage of them. So if you're looking to learn more about the Japanese bespoke shoe makers, I mean of course Instagram is always a great place for the visuals, but Jesper on has really done a good job writing about a lot of them. Great question. We look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces and we're happy to mail them to you in Hong Kong.

Our third question this week is from a lullemans72, it reads "Kirby you've mentioned in numerous videos that you helped Saphir develop the Mirror Gloss. I think it would be worth talking about in a separate video yor in your next Q&A;. I'm very curious to learn about how you went about contacting one of the top players in the field to develop this product". So lullemans, a great question. I'm actually quite proud that I did play a role in developing the Saphir Mirror Gloss. I was going to Bordeaux in the summer to visit some of the famous wine chateaus or wine houses like Lafite Rothschilds and on my way back I decided to go a little bit out of my way and to stop so that I could visit the factory Avel where Sapir shoe polish is made. So it was on one of those trips over dinner, I was there with me, Mark, and Sergio who is Mark's brother in law, who runs Tarago, and we were just talking about kind of glacage and patina and it was over dinner that I suggested that they consider a specific wax product just for the mirror shine process that had a lower concentration of solvents in it and a higher concentration of hard waxes. Now one of the ways that I got that idea, was again just through my extensive travel and relationships meeting a lot of these European glacage experts, like Thomas who we featured in our World Championship in Shoe Shining video, one of the things that I saw amongst all these really talented glacage artists is that they would all take their Saphir Pate de Luxe and they would allow it to dry out by leaving the tin open because by it drying out, the solvents would evaporate and you would get a higher concentration of those hard waxes that allowed them to more easily create a beautiful mirror shine. And so that really was the genesis for the idea of the Saphir Mirror Gloss. And I was thrilled, you know, two years later to learn that they were actually able to develop the Saphir Mirror Gloss and it's probably one of the most innovative polishes that's been released really in modern history. I mean, shoe polish for the most part has been the same for decades if not even longer. You got your cream polishes, a standard wax polish, but never before had a specific wax polish been made specifically for the glacage process until Saphir's Mirror Gloss. If you haven't tried the Saphir Mirror Gloss out, it's absolutely incredible stuff. Take a look. We've got an entire series on our YouTube channel on the mirror shine process. And there's no question that this polish makes it so much easier to achieve a beautiful mirror shine. Thank you for your question. I look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces and I invite you to post a photograph of a pair of shoes that you've done a beautiful mirror shine on with the Saphir Mirror Gloss and tag us with #HangerProject.

Our fourth question this week is on my shoe collection video it's from Colin MacDonald and reads "Kirby, Great to see another man showing his shoes. One thing I'd like explained is why do some shoes sit flat on the floor while others curl up at the toe. I know which I prefer, but just what is going on? So Colin there's really two answers to this question. The first one is that, you know, some shoes that are just really cheaply made they just curl upwards and it's by really no other reason than the fact that it's just a very poorly and cheaply made shoe. But that phenomenon can even happen with a very well-made dress shoe if you're not storing them properly. So I've got a pair of my woven shoes here, that I used earlier and that I'll use to kind of illustrate this point. So whenever you're walking, the shoe is naturally flexing right. So it's very common for the toe or for the outsole to just develop a little bit of a curve right? Because again, you've been walking in your shoe every single day. So if you take your shoes home at the end of the night, you take them off, you know they've absorbed a lot of moisture or perspiration from your foot throughout the day, and then you just leave them to dry, then they'll naturally begin to curl as the leather dries out. One of the other things that exaggerates this is that oftentimes the upper will dry faster than the sole of the shoe. And as that happens the leather kind of contracts and shrinks, which again, exaggerates that curling effect on the shoe itself. So if you're not storing your shoes with shoe trees, at some point your shoe then has a permanent memory of just being slightly curled. So that's why here at The Hanger Project we absolutely recommend always storing your shoes with a shoe tree. Really as soon as you take your shoes off, I recommend putting your shoe tree in. And then also pulling your shoe and kind of flexing it flat to make sure that as your shoe dries it's going to dry flat and straight with its original shape. Now one of the other benefits of using a shoe tree, and of course it wouldn't really matter so much on an issue with the woven vamp, is that again as you straighten this leather back out, it's going to help prevent creasing across the vamp of the shoe itself. So again, shoe trees are critical along with using a shoehorn of course are probably the two most important things that you can do to take care of a beautiful pair of dress shoes. And while we're talking about shoe storage,one of the things that I always do is I always tie my shoes before I've put them back into my closet for storage, because again, it's just helping kind of maintain the shape of the shoe so that it doesn't develop any type of unnecessary creasing. So if you'd like to see my closet make sure you check out my closet tour video and then we also have another video that's called a Daily Maintenance for Calfskin Shoes, where we talk a little bit more about proper shoe storage. Colin, thank you for your question and we look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces.

So our last question today segment is on the Kirby Allison's Favorite Ties video where I outline some of my favorite ties, and it is from a William Sweetnam which reads "I enjoyed the video and your tie selection is spot on. I also like your suit, particularly the fabric. Can you tell us more about the suit that you're wearing?" So great question. I'm actually I guess wearing the same jacket that I was in that particular video. And this is a just black odd coat that I had as part of my stroller. Now stroller is one of the formal British dress codes that was traditionally a daytime business wear. And so it was a black jacket, a waistcoat, white shirt and a pair of trousers, either gray trousers, houndstooth, or more formally kind of the pinstripe trousers. So traditionally the pinstripe trousers these days are worn with the next step up from a stroller, which is morning wear and so that's where you're actually wearing a morning coat. It's what I wear to Ascot whenever I go every year, and sometimes on a particularly formal Sunday like on Easter, I might wear those pinstriped trousers with my stroller. So whenever I travel to London, I always take my stroller with me because it's again a versatile garment that I can really wear three different ways. I can wear it as I'm wearing it today, which is really just as an odd jacket and a pair of grey trousers, or I can put my waistcoat on and wear it like this, again it's not a stroller because I don't have a formal tie. Or I can put a formal tie on. You know like a black grenadine or a burgundy grenadine or one of the black ties that we sell here at The Hanger Project and I'll add the slip which is a little white border that goes on the waistcoat and then it's a proper stroller, totally appropriate for a Sunday service or stroll down German Street. I hope that answers your question, William, thank you for asking it. You know I really could film an entire video about the stroller. Maybe we'll do that one day here at The Hanger Project. In the meantime, I look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces. And again, thank you for your question.

Once again I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone for their comments and questions. It's your comments and questions on our YouTube channel that really make these Q videos possible. And it's one of the things I always look forward to filming. And even more than filming these videos, I look forward to reading all those comments and questions which I absolutely do and trying to get back to as many of them as I absolutely can. Even if you don't have any questions to ask, just even sharing your opinion or your thoughts about our videos is something that I really enjoy reading. So if you haven't commented yet please do so on one of our next videos. If you enjoyed this video give us the thumbs up, or better yet subscribe to our channel and turn on notifications by clicking the bell on the top right hand corner. So that you learn whenever we release new videos. And of course please visit where we have the largest most comprehensive collection of luxury garment care and shoe accessories in the world as well as many other incredible products for the well-dressed. And while you're there, subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications of new product launches, promotions, as well as a weekly digest of all the videos we publish here on this YouTube channel. I'm Kirby Allison and we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. Thanks for joining us.